Tomatillo Chicken with Black Beans

Tomatillo’s have always been a mystery to me. They look like miniature versions of the green tomatoes my dad would bring in from the garden when I was a kid. The first time I saw them in the grocery store, I was surprised to see they were encased in a weird leathery covering. Definitely not my dads tomatoes.  I’ve liked tomatillo salsa for years but I had never worked with fresh ones until recently.

What is a tomatillo?

Tomatillo’s are classified as a fruit and are related to the tomato. The outside of the fruit is covered with a papery husk  that starts to split open when the fruit matures. You have to remove the husk and thoroughly wash the tomatillos before you use them. They will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks. Tomatillos are readily available in most areas of the country these days.

This recipe was adapted from The Real Food Diet by Dr. Josh Axe. It’s a quick and easy recipe with alot of flavor. If you can’t find tomatillos, try this with green or red tomatoes.   


Tomatillo Chicken with Black Beans


  • 4 tomatillos, cut in half
  • 2 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into 1 in. thick rings
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 4 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 4 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp cumin


  1. Turn on broiler.
  2. Put tomatillos, onions, garlic, and peppers on baking sheet and put under broiler until edges of veggies start to blacken slightly. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
  3. Put tomatillos, onion, peppers, garlic, cilantro, lime juice in food processor and pulse briefly.
  4. Season chicken with salt and cumin.
  5. Heat oil in skillet and cook chicken through- 4 to 5 minutes each side and remove from skillet.
  6. Add black beans to skillet and all but 4 tbsp of salsa. Cook for about 2 minutes or until heated through.
  7.  Slice chicken breast. Spoon black beans onto plate and top with sliced chicken breast. Top with reserved salsa.

I apologize for this picture. It was taken several months ago before my camera and I became friends.


  1. Charlottesville Sybarite
    March 15, 2011

    Ohhh that looks great! Growing up in southern California, we ate tomatillos a lot. I’m just waiting for them to come into season around June or so. Keep experimenting with them, so versatile in making sauces too.

    • jfoster
      March 15, 2011

      I want to make some fresh salsa with them this summer. I can’t wait.

  2. Heather @Gluten-Free Cat
    March 20, 2011

    I LOVE tomatillos! And that picture of the three of them is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Sounds delish, and it’s naturally gluten-free!

    • jfoster
      March 21, 2011

      Josh Axe has alot of gluten free recipes in his new cookbook. You should check it out.


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